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IL: Name Change for Transgender Sex Offender Debated at Seventh Circuit

[ – 11/6/20]

CHICAGO (CN) — A Seventh Circuit panel heard arguments Friday over whether a Wisconsin law barring convicted sex offenders from changing their name amounts to free speech infringement.

The underlying lawsuit was brought in Milwaukee federal court in May 2019 by Karen Krebs, a transgender woman from Kenosha, Wisconsin, who cannot change her name due to a 1992 conviction which required her to register as a sex offender.

Wisconsin law makes it a Class H felony for anyone who is required to register as a sex offender to legally change their name, criminal penalties for which range up to a $10,000 fine and six years in prison.

Krebs, whose forename given at birth is Kenneth, contended that her First Amendment rights are violated by being denied the ability to change her name in order to suit her identity, as she has not gone by her given name since she came out as transgender in 1999.

Her complaint, which named Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley as a defendant, claimed that not being able to go by the name that comports with her self-identity causes her distress and embarrassment and creates confusion whenever she applies for a job, goes to the doctor or manages her finances, forcing her to explain the fact that she is transgender.

U.S. District Court Judge J.P. Stadtmueller, a Ronald Reagan appointee, did not feel Krebs had met the burden of proof to show that Wisconsin’s name-change statute violates her free speech rights and granted summary judgment to Graveley in March of this year.

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How does this not meet burden of proof? She’d like to change her name. The law says she can’t. This isn’t a government document like a passport that’s on lease, allowing the government to put whatever they want on it as it’s the government speaking. This is her name and the government is forcing her to use something she doesn’t wish to. What more proof do you need?

The law prohibiting registrants from legally changing name has always accompanied the sex offender registration act in WI.( 1993 act 98) That is an identifiable affirmative restraint as discussed by the Rehnquist court in Alaska v Doe (Smith V.). Whats more interesting is that the prohibition itself is vindictive by definition. This is so because Wisconsin’s SOR has public space on the registry for alieses\ also known as..publicly available. While most offenders on WISOR do not use anything than their birth names, some offenders have been known by other names AND those aliases are listed too, for public consumption. Therefore… Read more »

Agree 100% My registration with the Wisconsin SORP contains a few alias names. The prohibition against name changes really serves no purpose since there is already a mechanism to cross reference multiple names for a single registrant. The only thing I can see as a potential reason for keeping the prohibition is regarding victims. By allowing an official name change, it would possibly be more difficult for a victim to take steps to avoid contact with the registrant. For example, when public notice of a registrant moving into an area is made, it’s typically made using the person’s legal name… Read more »

I’ve heard this exceptional concern for victims (you mention the mechanism wDOC has to update victims about everything having to do with their perpetrator) is also their justification for keeping anyone convicted in WI on the registry actively registering even if they move out of state or even out if country. Do you have any thoughts about that?? Any legal tack to attack the perpetual registration for out of staters?? Thanks

While in the Army in Colorado springs i was robbed at gunpoint outside the Korean Club. TMALSS the guy was convicted, caught by doing the same thing on a different persons, and my case was read in of 7 counts.

Why in the hell would i want to know where he is now? I bet now, 30 yrs later , I’d still recognize him but i sure as heck would be afraid nor wish to know. Victim’s who insist on knowing are getting something from it but I am clueless what that something is. It almost defies logic at all.

CA lists aliases as well. I have one listed even though I never used it. It was the cops who misspelled my last name during booking. And now its an official aliase I never used.

SORNA must of anticipated this that’s why they want sex offenders to update there registion 5 days after any type of name change .
Obviously this law has been put in place for women sex offenders who could easily get married and go down to social security office and change there last name the rest of the sex offenders affected by this law are just collateral damage

Good luck

I too have an alias that I had never used. It was made up by the cops.

Sounds good to me. I suppose the criminal regimes feel they are so incompetent that they cannot effectively track a name change. And that people who actually look at the Registries are too stupid to understand it. That is probably correct. But companies have been effectively tracking name changes forever. Take a look at credit reports. Or voting. Hell of a lot more important than the jobs-program Registries.

But what’s with your offensive language? Calling people “offenders”?

Don’t be like the real losers here that insist on calling people names. Such people need to be ignored.

What’s instilled in the heart of many in this much of these deceptive ordeals. Well the bible can tell you all that. This transgender issue ordeal is a game changer just like this whole sex registry scheme or scam. Seems a person isn’t satisfied with their real birth name and wants to play up a klinger type ordeal which would give anyone the woolies or second guess. One can talk about a chameleon changing spots it would seems that human nature doesn’t play that game. Funny that a transgender wants to be something that the creator didn’t intend that person… Read more »

@All on here. Now Janice has bought out many pieces to this puzzle and many of these articles are good. Maybe thats the reason I came back on here to help enlighten others in much of this gloom and doom without getting my thorat cut in all this type of sexcapade. Should we all start singing Glory, Glory, Halelujah or is it time to put much of this registry to rest in many ways. I’m sure a lot of men didn’t like the song By Helen Reddy .. I am woman hear me roar but many mom’s are upset over… Read more »

“I’m sure a lot of men didn’t like that song By Helen Reddy”. Why would men not like the song By Helen Reddy? I had her album when I was a young boy. She had a great voice and her songs often had a good message. I Am Women (1971) was a great song. Please explain what’s wrong with her song and why “Men” wouldn’t like it.

@saddles It’s easy to get hung up on the transgender part of this issue, but that really isn’t the core of the problem. If a person wants to legally change his/her/their name then the reason doesn’t really matter. The fact that the state is forcing them to identify by a name other than the one they choose is the issue. For a person getting married that wants to take on a married name, this will of course create a problem. It’s also easy to allow ones religious beliefs about transgender people to really get in the way of civil law… Read more »

@Worried, No kidding, the people of WI are bombarded with media to calls to victimhood. Apparently half of Wisconsin’s population considered themselves a victim of the current National administration. In the most recent election of our current WI Governor an add campaign against him eluded to his covering up of teacher sex abuse on kids. The attack ad ran on several TV stations and included Case #s for authenticity. Madison is choked with ambulance chasing lawyer types focused especially on sex abuse, auto accidents, work related injury, pharmaceutical poisenings,etc. Even Captain Kirk is in the mix. Have you read about… Read more »

Cant get a job, can’t live where you want, can’t go where you want, can’t travel freely, can’t change your name, can’t defend yourself, and other rights lost in this insanity. What’s next can’t change your gender? Not punishment to People on power trips controlling other people’s lives.

I wish you hadn’t done that Lake. Yes I’m sure some men like the song course dont’ quote me on that one but one wonders how Tom Jones or Trump would react to this feminst song and this culture movement that was on the rise back than when dope smokers were just trying to get by in a nation of unrest. Nothing wrong with the song but it is a type of steryotyping of empowerment if one would like to say Was the timing right for that song? How about this jive talk’n today or rap, etc. I hope we… Read more »

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